By Jacqueline Bibb
In May of this year I was able to go abroad to Berlin for three weeks. Corny as it may be, Berlin was the time of my life. Every day I woke to have an awesome cup of coffee, followed by a day filled with museums and historical sites. I could not have asked for better.
The first day after arrival we went to the Brandenburg Gate, it was very crowded due to it being one of the symbols of Berlin. It was absolutely beautiful, and Dr. Amanda Brian (head of the abroad trip) gave us some history about the gate. The top statue was actually taken off during World War Two so it would not be destroyed, when returned back to the gate it was placed facing the wrong way, making them have to go back in and change it to the correct manner facing in on the city to protect it.
Also, while walking around mainly Eastern Berlin you could see bullet struck buildings with huge chunks missing from the war when the Soviets invaded. Dr. Brian said this was a twofold reasoning, first being that this is a memory of how gruesome the war was taking over the city. The second being, the city only has so much money to fix buildings and it is a cost efficient way to create public remembrance.
Another example of remembrance was the city of Dresden. We got to take the train out and visit Dresden to experience what terror looks like. The British in late February fire bombed Dresden for two days, which only held German citizens. They burnt the city to the ground, some buildings felt standing were scorched black. The church pictured, is a rebuilt tribute to the city, the left side is the scorched original. Some say the coeloms glowed red for two weeks after the fire bombings. I cannot fathom experiencing something so horrific. My great grandfather who I am named after fought in Germany during World War Two, these trips often made me think of him and I wonder how he endured them.
Being from the United States I am so fortunate to never have experienced war in our country. Being in Dresden and Berlin changed my view of war. It created more empathy and sympathy in my views. Often in the news we hear reports of bombings and 20 or so deaths. Those lives are real and those places are not just automatically fixed with a go fund me.